Past studies have revealed that approximately half of all hospitalized patients deaths each year are caused by infection complications. More than 100,000 people die each year from hospital infections and there is more than $33 billion spent for excess medical care. Despite these statistics, a recent study has revealed that most hospitals fail to follow their own infection prevention policies.
A research team from the Columbia School of Nursing analyzed the infection prevention policies of 1,653 ICUs at 975 hospitals across the country. In particular, the study was looking for the type of checklists hospitals had in place to prevent ventilator-associated pneumonia, central line-associated bloodstream infections and catheter-associated urinary tract infections.
The study discovered that one in four hospitals lack checklists to help avoid pneumonia in ventilator patients and one in 10 hospitals lack checklists to prevent bloodstream infections. Even more disturbing was that these checklists are only being followed only half of the time.
The study also found that, despite past research which indicates that having staff who are trained and certified in infection control significantly reduces infection occurrences, more than one-third of the hospitals had no staff trained in infection control. The same was true for electronic monitoring, which has also been shown to greatly reduce hospital infections. Yet only one-third of the hospitals utilize an electronic monitoring system.
The results of this study will hopefully be a call-to-action to all hospitals to begin following their own rules and make the safety of patients a number one priority. If you have suffered from an illness or injury caused by an infection contracted as a result of a hospital stay, contact a dedicated NorthCarolina medical malpractice attorney to find out what compensation you may be entitled to for pain and loss.